I am one of those whom attended the discussion group, this monday. The talk was synthetised by others so i would like to discuss on another aspect.
These past few week, there has been a lot of discussion whether how activism should be defined and whom should fullfill this task. The question ; «Is an academic an activist» did not have a concrete answer. One of use suggested that the activism is more of a social implication activity rather then am obligation to inform. I believe that we have a perfect exemple of that theory applied in this group of discussion. The Rabi is a learned men, no doubt in my mind, but he is far from being an academic. Nevertheless, this men is the co-founder of an environmental institution and a passionnate fond raiser. The Rabi, du to his religious duties has a convincing voice when he defends his ideal. I doubt that any of his fellow scientist in the institute could have explained has simply why this institute is so great in views of futur politic and environmental action in the present. The gift of communication his giving to few and in my opinion of the, the Rabi definitly had it. Does that mean that somewhere along the line somebody is not fullfilling his duty but letting the Rabi speak in his place. I don’t think so. Even though it might not be the Rabi project, he knows the implication, impacts and needs and his able to move the crowd and convince then of the importance that institute.
This brings me to the motive of the speaker. Indeed, he was passionnante about environment and solving politic problem in that area of the world. But i think that his motives where elsewhere then to inform us of the problem and potential solution. The institute is a NGO and therefore needs outside funding to perform its tasks. Futhermore more, the institute’s wish is to grow in number, which means they will need more students. Since they mix palestinian with jordanian, jews (both from ME and North America) and north american, they need to recruit here as well. I think those were his personal two obje ctives.
Finally, i would like to bring emphasis on the discussion concerning the funding. The institute seems to get 10% of it’s funding from a Jew organism which as been labelled racist by a men in the discussion circle. The Rabi made two clear point on the subject, other then we need the money which obviously they do. He started by saying that the institute questionned the proposed money du to the groups intention. They finally accepted the money and they now have one member on the executive commity. This enable them to critic the work of the organisation, giving them a voice in issues they believe are unfaired judge. The Rabi used the terms fighting from the inside instead of fighting from the outside. The second argument was more related to the region of the world being in a bad state. Friends and enemies are not chosen, they are given. What you do with those relationships is up to you afterwards. But the facts still remains, the decision of accepting the money is conflictuing with ethics and thats why they feel compelled to act within this jewish group. Knowing that, it is clear to my mind the politics, ethics and activism are linked together. Sciences also have their own ethic which is probably the link beetween all those aspect. In respect to that, i believe that being an activist or have a personnal ethic as nothing to do with the person function (academic or Rabi) but as more to do with personnal choice. It is up to you to decide whether or not you feel the your personnal contribution could make things progress.